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Winter toy appeal responds to devastating poverty

The Local Buyers Club is helping to run a Toy and Food Appeal which will deliver gifts to thousands of inner-city children living in poverty this winter.

The rising cost of living and welfare cuts and sanctions hit the most vulnerable hard.

It's the fourth year that family website StokeyParents has run the appeal – last year more than 2,000 children received a new gift and hundreds of meals were donated to the local Food Bank. This year they're joining forces with the Local Buyers Club to reach even more children.

Organiser Jenna Fansa said: “It’s a sad sign of the times that more and more families are struggling to make ends meet. We’re hearing about families of four living in one room in terrible damp conditions and without enough food, we’re hearing of families who have no access to public funds and those fleeing domestic violence with only the clothes on their back.

“Each year an amazing network of staff at local organisations put together a list of the children they work with who are experiencing desperate poverty and these are the children our toys reach.”

The appeal is also sponsored by local estate agency Location Location which also acts as a delivery point for donations (18 Stoke Newington Church Street, London, N16 0LU).

Toys are distributed by the Ivy Street Family Centre in Hoxton via an expanding network of social workers, refuges, hostels, children’s centres, schools, Hackney Food Bank, St Joseph’s Hospice and the Homerton Hospital.

Jenna added: “Every year I’m moved to tears by the generosity of local people gifts for people in their community they’ve never even met. It’s a very real demonstration to those experiencing hard times that people care about them and want to help.

"We're asking people to donate new toys and not to wrap them - I hope, as much as possible, those who donate will buy from local shops and that the appeal will be an added boost to local traders."

According to data released by Public Health England last year, more than a quarter of Hackney’s children (an estimated 15,000 aged under 16) live below the poverty line.

Clare Reay, Acting Manager of the Ivy Street Family Centre, which coordinates the gift distribution, said: “We regularly see parents who can't afford to eat - they certainly couldn't buy a gift for their children at Christmas. Thanks to the Winter Toy & Food Appeal those families have a gift to give and their children have the pleasure of opening something new.

"We and the families we support are always incredibly moved by the kindness of strangers."

As well as collecting new toys, the team is appealing for donations of non-perishable food for Hackney Food Bank.

Local collection points for new, unwrapped toys include: Location Location ( 18 Stoke Newington Church St N16), Vintiners Picture Framing ( 24 Crouch End Hill N8), L'Epicerie 56 ( 56 Chatsworth Rd E5) & Bourne's Fishmongers (13 Highbury Park N5)

For more information and to find out how to donate please visit

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